Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh crosses Abercromby Street as he makes his way to the Red House to attend yesterday’s sitting of the Senate.

There will be word by next week on which COVID- 19 vaccines and how much will be allocated to CARICOM territories like T&T.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh indicated this during yesterday’s Senate, replying to UNC senator David Nakhid’s query whether vaccine supplies will be expedited due to the new UK COVID variant.

Deyalsingh said Government had aggressively pursued three options to get vaccines since last July and signed agreement in September with the Covax facility and made a downpayment of (US)$1.4 million. This was towards Covax’s vaccine research and development.

He said Covax allocation of vaccines to each country should be completed by January 31.

Thereafter purchasing and distribution of vaccines would be finalised.

Covax has not yet approved a vaccine for the CARICOM region but by January 31 information will arrive on what vaccine and how much Covax has determined for CARICOM by territory.

Talks have also been on-going with vaccine manufactures ranging from Pfizer to Moderna.

CARICOM also has an initiative where T&T is registered vaccine purchaser.

On other queries, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell said Cabinet will soon examine moves to have a Parliamentary Joint Select team examine a petition—which came to Government last term—for removal of some statues.

These included those of Christopher Columbus. Government felt the matter would generate national interest and consultations should be done on the way forward.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert also said a search is on for suitable candidate to present to Cabinet for the post of deputy Central Bank Governor—a person with administrative and managerial as well as financial background.

UNC Senator hits sister

of Independent Senator

UNC senator Jayanti Lutchemedial was halted by Senate President Christne Kangaloo yesterday when she called the name of Bliss Seepersad-chairman of the Police Service Commission.

Lutchemedial raised Seepersad’s name in contribution to a debate on service commissions. She said Government needed to give more resources to the commissions.

Citing the need to have commission officials who were not political appointees, she cited the commission as a an example of “political interference.”

She cited Seepersad had been a State board appointee. But Lutchemedial was reminded by Kangaloo of Senate regulations on PSC appointments.

Lutchemedial’s contribution was followed by Independent senator Charisse Seepersad.

She said the person (Bliss Seepersad), who Lutchemedial had referred, to was her sister.

Seepersad said commissions had been quite dysfunctional and cost-extreme since officials were suspended and remained on pay.

She said Government and public service had given up trying to discipline public servants. She recommended probe of commissions to try to identify and rectify deficiencies.